- Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra is scheduled to start from 23rd of June
- An NPO filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking Rath Yatra to be cancelled this year
- Annually the Yatra draws around 10 lakh people
The Supreme Court of India, today, passed the judgement that the Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra and activities connected to it will not be allowed to take place this year owing to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.
Chief Justice of India (CJI) S A Bobde, while hearing the petition which sought to defer the Rath Yatra in Odisha’s Puri” said that “Lord Jagannath will not forgive us if we allowed the Rath Yatra”. The Rath Yatra was scheduled to start from the 23rd of June.
Referring to the advice of the health professionals of maintaining social distancing, the Supreme Court said, “Such gatherings can’t take place at the time of the pandemic,”. The healthcare professionals claim that the virus is highly infectious and can easily spread via surface contact and even respiratory droplets.
The risk of contracting the virus increase multifold in a crowded situation.
The top court said, “in the interest of public health and safety of citizens” it cannot allow the Yatra to take place this year.
A non-profit organization, Odisha Vikas Parishad, filed a petition in the Supreme Court of India saying the annual Rath Yatra draws around 10 lakh devotees every year in the coastal district in Odisha and the religious event goes on for 10 to 12 days.
The Rath Yatra amidst the Coronavirus [andemic “will be an invitation to infect lakhs of devotees”, said the petition and added that even the Odisha Government has not allowed any religious activity to take place before 30th June.
The non-profit organisation which was represented by the former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, said that if the Rath Yatra is allowed it will violate the orders of the Odisha government.
CJI Bobde said, “this is a serious matter” and added, “even if there are only 10,000 people (in the event), it is also a serious thing,”.
The Centre has been treading carefully in allowing the religious places to open during the lockdown period. As the lockdown was extended multiple times, the government allowed the opening of religious places by only if guidelines are strictly followed including social distancing.
India has reported its highest single day COVID-19 cases spike ever when 12,881 people were tested positive for the deadly virus in 24 hours. According to the data shared by the government, in the same time frame, the virus claimed the lives of 334 people.
As of now, Indian has reported 3,67,963 cases of Coronavirus which makes it 4th worst-hit country in the world after the US, Brazil and Russia at 1st, 2nd and 3rd spots respectively. The good news being Indian has reported 1,94,325 recovery cases which give the country a recovery rate of 52.95%.
12, 272 people have lost their lives due to COVID-19 in India till now. India has done 62,49,668 tests for the deadly virus till now and at least 1,65,412 tests were done on Wednesday alone. Out of those, 7.78% were found positive.